Electronic Data Protection in Pakistan

The increased digital access in human lives has facilitated its work and appended additional spaces to the existing ones. Knowledge is no more inaccessible or confined to books, rather it has been taken to virtual spaces. Pakistan is
relatively a new to this advancement, however, there has been a meticulous debate in progress to regulate these spaces and counter the crimes facilitated by the internet. The new laws are being introduced to fight back the technology driven crimes, however, various provisions have enabled the State to curb on fundamental freedoms. On the other hand, the government also began employing the sophisticated technology to collect citizens’ information through digital means and store it as the State’s repositories. These repositories form a massive database that contain personal information of citizens including biometric prints of millions of people, which the government also claims is one of the world’s largest databases. Mass collection of citizens’ digital data raises questions vis-à-vis
security and protection of the data, and sharing with other parties, foreign governments, agencies, as well as corporate entities. The government of Pakistan has always been reluctant to answer these questions and uncover the information of public interest in the guise of national security. This background paper will explore the data
protection aspect of existing state of privacy in Pakistan in order to strike a debate about its
urgency and need.

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